Going into this offseason, everyone that was asked – including the Dbacks’ CEO and team pres, Derrick Hall – said that the Diamondbacks were expecting a relatively quiet offseason.
Because, hey, if its not broken, don’t break it.
Last offseason, new GM Kevin Towers revamped a – quite frankly - scary bullpen on the cheap (highlighted by picking up a resurgent JJ Putz), extended Stephen Drew (which seemed very important at the time) and more or less filled in the rest of the holes with veteran utilitymen.
He may or may not have have become a little trigger-happy and shelled out slightly more $$$ than most people would have thrown at at people like Geoff Blum or Willie Bloomquist (who ended up playing far more than anyone would have seen coming), but he still managed to field a playoff team for a relative bargain.
See the following chart:
||New York Yankees
||St. Louis Cardinals
||Tampa Bay Rays
(adapted from bizofbaseball.com)
He also gave the manager’s job to future NL Manager of the Year, Kirk Gibson, the team pulled off the ever elusive “Worst to First”, they had a near-NL-MVP in right field, one of the best CF in the game, a golden-glover in LF, and 20-game winner who pitched himself into the CY discussion. And they won their divsion. So all-in-all, 2011 was an unqualified success.
Which brings us back to the 2011 hot stove. With a little time on his hands and a little more money to spend, there seems to be money flowing in some unexpected directions. Replacing Joe Saunders with Trevor Cahill via trade makes sense. Slightly younger, slightly cheaper, throws lots of ground balls. That should fit in well with the home run derby haven that is Chase Field.
However, the action in the outfield is where I’m having my doubts.
|2010 Games Played
|2011 Games Played
|2011 Triple Slash Line
|fangraphs – WAR
|| 1.6 (6th in NL)
||-BB% increased*, K% decreased
- Gold Glove (LF)
-1st in NL in outfield assists & range factor
| -BB% decreased, K% increased
|| $1.7 mil (estimate)
–> 1st time arbitration eligible
| $7.5 mil
*often hit 8th, in front of the pitcher, which contributed to an increased IBB rate this year, so take the BB% with a grain of salt or two
Okay, so, I don’t know about y’all, but I have to say that Player B doesn’t excite me 5.8 million times more than Player A. Don’t get me wrong. I have got nothing against Jason Kubel, and the White Sox fan in me isn’t terribly upset to have him out of the AL Central, but he seems somewhat extraneous to me here on the Dbacks’ roster. For the money, he doesn’t seem to offer a huge offensive upgrade to a younger, cheaper alternative (who is getting better yearly), who is also a golden glove outfielder. Particularly since both Jason Kubel and Gerardo Parra hit from the same side, and neither has an obvious platoon split.
I am probably more partial to Gerardo Parra than he may even deserve (I can be won over by a great diving play or an outfield assist any day of the week. I’m easy.), but I’m just not buying what Kevin Towers is selling with this acquisition. I’m not sure I want Gerardo Parra relegated to a 4th outfielder role.
I hope I’m wrong, and that this works out for everyone, but I’m also worried that someone gave Kevin Towers a little too much money and a little too much free reign. I hope that the Jason Kubel signing isn’t the start of a trend and that there’s not more where this came from. But, even if that’s the end of the action, I think this off season might have been a little too loud for me.
(Coming soon, a love letter to Gerardo Parra. It seems appropriate.)